What are some apps you just can’t live without?

We started with phones that came with just 8GB of memory. From there we’ve moved on to 64GB, 128GB, and now even 256GB worth of memory on phones. No matter how large the capacity goes, you’ll still end up filling your phone with all sorts of apps and media. And why not, right?

After a point of time you realise it’s just noise. Noise that’s keeping you away from being slightly more productive. Noise that keeps you hooked to a glass based display when you should be paying more attention to other things in life. Can we cut down on this noise? Yes, to an extent. We can. We will. We should.

I decided to do a little experiment. I reset my iPhone and set it up as a new phone with stock apps. I told myself I won’t start installing apps until and unless I felt the absolute need for one. I’ll then install apps based on pure need, with each passing day.

15 minutes into the experiment and I ended up installing Tweetbot 4 first. WhatsApp was next since I was expecting a few messages already. I’ve been highly active on Snapchat lately so that was the obvious next choice. That was all for the first day.

The next morning I felt the urge to browse through my Instagram timeline. So I went down that black hole. Facebook was next. Then came the banking apps. YouTube for cartoons for the little one in the house. That was it. I’ve started using the default mail app instead of Spark for some reason, and it’s going pretty well.

The other obvious app I can’t live without has to be Amazon. For those who know me it’s like my oxygen. If there was one app, and only one app I could keep on my phone, it would be Amazon. Can’t imagine life without it now. For other stores (and price comparison) I can just browse the web on Safari.

So that’s my story. What are some of the apps you can’t live without?

Why Should Anyone Buy An Apple Watch?

This is probably the biggest question on anyone’s mind right now — why should you buy an Apple Watch? Personally, I was looking to find an answer during Apple’s launch keynote earlier this week. Apple did demonstrate a few apps, and some other features of the Apple Watch, but then again the problem with Apple is extremely high, and most unrealistic, expectations.

Where is the “wow” factor about the Apple Watch?

If Apple hadn’t revealed the Apple Watch earlier, and if it was first-time announcement this week, I think I’d still be looking for ways to save up some money to buy one. Apple did kill some of the excitement one generally has for a new Apple product but announcing it a little earlier than usual.

But then Apple products are almost never an impulse buy for anyone. Prospective customers watch videos, read lengthy reviews, and talk to existing customers before buying just about anything now. With an Apple product it becomes all the more important simply due to their higher than normal pricing.

Apple Watch is more of an expensive iPhone accessory than a standalone product. You can certainly live without one. Can it make you spend your hard earned money to find a place on your wrist? Not initially, no. The second iteration of Apple Watch would be an interesting piece of hardware. The Apple Watch 2 would have a solid foundation when it comes to apps, and an improvement over the first Watch using all the feedback the initial customers generate.

Unlike an iPhone, the Apple Watch will not be subsidised. That makes it nearly half the price of an unlocked iPhone in the US. For other countries like India, where carriers do not subsidise devices, we’re already used to paying full prices for our iPhones.

The typical price for an Apple Watch in India is going to be somewhere around Rs.30,000-35,000 for the entry level variants. Let’s not even go towards the $10,000 Apple Watch Edition with all the bling, and same functionality. People had only recently gotten used to spending more than Rs.40,000 for a high-end smartphone, and low-cost Android smartphone makers have shattered that price point as well.

The first Apple Watch is certainly going to be a luxury, especially in India. The high price, matched with a high customs import duty, is going to make it difficult to sell here. The only saving grace for the Apple Watch in India is once the apps start driving usage. I’m not saying it won’t sell, there are a lot of people with money. I’m just saying it’s going to take some time for Indians to get used to the smartwatch phenomenon.

To Uber, or not?

I remember the first time I came to know about radio cabs, I felt an instant connection. The ability to call for a cab, anytime and anywhere, and with a promise of well behaved English speaking cab drivers, it made everything feel so good. I think Chandigarh was one of the first few cities to experience radio cabs.

Even though they were more expensive here, it felt like a convenience no one else could offer. Fast forward several years into the smartphone-filled scenario, taxi apps like Uber, Ola, Taxi for Sure, and others took things to the next level. Being able to call for a cab right from the app itself, to tracking the current location, and even getting a decent discount on the whole trip — it was just too good.

But then we’re not really living a perfect world. Are we? This happened, and all hell broke loose. The incident shed light on how taxi app companies had discovered a major loophole, and were operating without following proper legal procedures. Delhi, and now even Chandigarh, have started banning these app based taxi services.

The Delhi Police officials claimed they didn’t know about the app before the incident. To make matter worse, Uber doesn’t even run a call centre necessary to ensure proper customer support. The cops had to install the app, demand a cab, and then asked the cab driver to take them to the company’s offices. That’s sad.

Uber isn’t new to controversies in the country. Earlier the company was accused to bypassing the mandatory two-factor authentication according to regulations laid down by the Reserve Bank of India. Uber did manage to get a lot of attention that time, and even some support from users who claimed that it was a dick move on other radio cabs’ part to accuse Uber.

The latest incident, and the subsequent ban has put Uber, and other taxi app based companies in the limelight. These companies have put in a significant investment across the country, and they will do their best to comply by the regulations. But when they do, after some time, will people still trust them? Will you trust them for a late-night ride while all alone?

Developers Submit 36 Apps in 24 Hours At India’s Aadhaar Hackathon

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India’s unique identity project Aadhaar has successfully enrolled millions of citizens, and continues to add thousands by the day. In a hackathon organised by the Aadhaar project, a number of teams comprising of student developers mainly, successfully built around 36 apps in a first ever event of its kind for the project.

In the 24 hours of the hackathon, developers built apps around the Aadhar project aimed at solving problems while adding more value to the Aadhar project for citizens. These apps make use of the unique identity number assigned to each citizen in the country under the project. The basic purpose of establishing the project in the first place was to be able to offer social and economic services seamlessly across the country using a single layer of validation, that is the Aadhar card number.

The contest was won by a team of developers from the Vellore Institute of Technology. Their application titled ‘Aadhaaritory’ allows users to keep record of their medical history, and share them with doctors using their Aadhaar card numbers. The app is based on the idea of enabling easy access of past medical records across the country. The winners were allowed to interact with the co-founder of Sun Microsystems, Mr. Vinod Khosla.

The event was organised by Khosla’s startup incubator called Khosla Labs along with Nasscom. The hackathon invited around 1800 registrations out of which 140 individual developers were selected, and were assigned into 40 teams. The developers were selecting using a simple programming skills test.

Before the hackathon, students were trained on how they can integrate their apps with Aadhaar. Most of the developers at the event had never worked on Aadhar before. The runners up to the contest build an app called Aadhar Box, a cloud based document storing facility that can store and share verified documents from Aadhar.

India is a growing market for mobile application development, with a majority of the development involved in outsourcing. Events like these will not only promote state-owned projects but they will also help promote mobile application development skills amongst students in the country. More events like this will be organised in the near future to promote more ideas for developing mobile apps for Aadhar.

Facebook To Speed Up iOS App

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It seems like they’ve finally woken up!

I had the opportunity to see the as-yet unreleased iPhone application, and it is fast. Blazing fast. The two engineers I spoke with said the new application is being tested by Facebook developers and is expected to be updated this summer.

Nick Bilton on NYTimes

I really, really hope they also realize they have an app on Android too. And it’s. Way. Too. Slow.

100,000 Apps on Windows Phone Marketplace

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More than 100,000 apps have now been published in the Windows Phone Marketplace and new content is currently being added at the rate of 313 apps per day. At the time of writing, 100,145 apps have been published. Of these, 26,493 were added in the last three months and 9,391 were added in the last month. These apps come from just over 23,825 different publishers.

Some very interesting insights on the Windows Phone marketplace here. It’s a no brainer that the more apps you have, the more your ecosystem would prosper. Microsoft might just be on it’s way to give a tougher fight to the exploding Android phone market. Why do I call it that and not the smartphone market? Well, the smartphone market is pretty huge. Surely Apple leads the way here but then the Android phone segment makes up it’s own little world. A world filled with people..err phones of all sizes and shapes and variable capabilities. I’m guessing this is where Microsoft wants to strike first rather than poking at Apple fanboys directly.

Of course, something is better than nothing.

Facebook Launches New Camera App

Facebook mobile app
This explains the Instagram deal. If Facebook had launched it’s new mobile camera app without buying Instagram in the first place, everyone and their dogs must have accused Facebook for such blasphemy.

As per Facebook, the new Camera app makes it brain-dead simple for people to click, edit and share photos on the go. It’s currently available for download on the iTunes AppStore. From the video you can make out the app does seem to make it simple to upload multiple photos, add effects and scroll through your friends’ photos.

So now there’s another app to take photos, add effects and paste them all over Facebook. Good lord! I wonder why they didn’t integrate it with their existing Facebook mobile application. Oh wait…thank god they didn’t do that!

Solving Information Overload Problem for Campus Students

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If I could get a ride on a time machine today, I’d like to go back to college. With the amount of information I’ll be carrying back, I could beat the likes of Steve Jobs and Mark Zuckerberg to their game. I’d knock on RIM’s door and tell them to make a full touchscreen BlackBerry smartphone, I would personally write Facebook from scratch. Such fantasies sometimes take the most of me.

While going back and forth in time may not be possible, we do have an obvious vision or a projection of the future in our minds. If you look at it from my eyes, it looks too overcrowded. Tons of information keeps flowing in every single day and it’s getting harder and harder to control this fire hose of information overload. If it goes on this way it’ll convert each of our brains into monkey like maniacs. Our mind would keep jumping off here and there.
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6th Grade Student Is An iPhone App Developer

Thomas Suarez is a 6th grade student at a middle school in the South Bay. Tom been fascinated by computers and technology since before kindergarten. Recently, he’s been focused on the development of applications for the iPhone, and has established his own company, CarrotCorp. His most successful ap is one he terms “an anti-Justin-Bieber game” called “Bustin Jieber”. “It’s is a variation on the Whac-a-Mole theme,” he explains.

I feel like the most worthless person on earth right now.

Facebook Zero Launched for Mobile Carriers

facebook zero

Facebook is playing Superman for mobile carriers who’re already choking on bandwidth. Facebook today announced the launch of Facebook Zero, a text-only mobile site, for a select set of mobile carriers. Facebook Zero is a stripped down version of Facebook’s existing mobile site.

You can access Facebook Zero at zero.facebook.com from your mobile device if it has been enabled for your operator. Chances are pretty slim although. Facebook will offer Zero to mobile carriers at no extra charge. Operators have the choice to provide it for free to their subscribe and if a user wishes to access data intensive applications like photos etc. on the mobile then an operator might choose to charge their users.

For Facebook it’s yet another method to add to the increasing the usage amongst mobile users, another step towards fetching Twitter-lovers.
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